The lion is the king of the jungle. (Is 'king' an adjective or a noun?)

Little_LIS

Senior Member
Arabic,Egypt
The lion is the king of the jungle.

Is king here a noun or an adjective? As the teacher marked it as an adjective, and I couldn't get it.

Thanks in advance.
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Ummmm, but it is not that either. The head word of an adjective phrase is an adjective. In this sentence we have a noun phrase which, I believe, is built around the head noun "king" - "king of the jungle"... Also, the noun phrase in question is a subject complement in the sentence.

    The lion - subject
    is - predicate (link verb "be")
    the king of the jungle - subject complement (noun phrase)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with boozer, and disagree with Liliana. The king of the jungle is a noun phrase.

    Like others, I don't understand why your teacher marked "king" as an adjective, Little_LIS:(.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The lion is the subject and the king of the jungle is a phrasal adjective, in my opinion.
    You're mixing up functions and parts of speech, Liliana. The lion is the subject and the king of the jungle is the [subject] complement, as boozer said:).
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    The king is definitely a noun. The king of the jungle is a noun phrase, you are probably right, but a man of means would be an adjectival phrase. I did not mix any parts of speech, by the way, only the function of the subject modyfying phrase.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Note that in the thread title, the poster asks whether "lion" is a noun and then in the text, asks about "king."

    We might be roaring up the wrong tree here.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    King is only a noun. Nouns in English can modify other nouns, in which case they are sometimes called "attributives." After a form of the verb "to be" and some other "linking" or "copulative" verbs, there can be another noun or an adjective. We can think of the verb in this case as an equals sign. "Lion = king." "The sabretooth is extinct" is an example of an adjective instead of a noun in the same position.

    I am afraid the "English teacher" needs further study.

    ADDED AFTER SEEING SDGRAHAM's MESSAGE: "Lion" is a noun, too. I think Little_LIS made a mistake in the thread title.
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Note that in the thread title, the poster asks whether "lion" is a noun and then in the text, asks about "king."
    ADDED AFTER SEEING SDGRAHAM's MESSAGE: "Lion" is a noun, too. I think Little_LIS made a mistake in the thread title.
    Sorry, folks, that was me:eek: ~ I changed Lis's original title (which was something like Is this a noun or an adjective?) and added the wrong word.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    The king is definitely a noun. The king of the jungle is a noun phrase, you are probably right, but a man of means would be an adjectival phrase. I did not mix any parts of speech, by the way, only the function of the subject modyfying phrase.
    However, if it were "He is a man of means", "man" would still be a noun. This is the equivalent construction to the original poster's question.

    I agree with the others. In "The lion is the king..." (no matter what follows), "king" is a noun.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Just for the record:
    lion
    [...]
    12.12 attrib. passing into adj. = ‘lion-like; characteristic of a lion; strong, brave, or fierce as a lion’.
    1860 Pusey Min. Proph. 266 Jonah feared not the fierceness of their lion-nature, but God's tenderness.
    Source: OED
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Do you agree JamesM that a man of means would be an adjectival phrase, even though man is a noun?
    I'm not James, and your question is heading off-topic - but a man of means would be a noun phrase, just like the king of the jungle. The headword in a man of means is the noun "man", just as the headword in the king of the jungle is the noun "king". Perhaps you can explain why you suggested that the king of the jungle/a man of means is adjectival? That might, conceivably, help to explain LIS's teacher's mistake:).
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    I do not agree with you, Loob, because the function of a man of means is adjectival, even though man is a noun. A man of means has the function of rich.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    "A man of means" could function as subject, object, subject complement, etc - those are syntactic functions within a sentence. Outside a sentence, "man of means" is not a separate part of speech in the manner of adjectives, nouns, verbs, etc. simply because it is a phrase. What it cannot be is an adjectival phrase because, as I said, the head word of an adjectival phrase is an adjective. Loob is an expert and she is absolutely right.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    It has the connotation of rich, but not the function. It cannot be replaced by the single word "rich". "Man" is a key component in that phrase.

    "This is a man of means" and "This is rich" mean two completely different things. It would have to be "This is a rich man. "

    (We are drifting off the original topic here.)

    I suppose it can be applied to the original. "The lion is the jungle's king." "The lion is the king of the jungle." "Of the jungle" is the part that functions as an adjectival phrase, modifying "king". As others have said, "king of the jungle" is a noun phrase to me.
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    I do not think a man of means can function as a noun phrase. An adjective can also function as a subject. Rich is an English word. What do you think about this subject. Going back to my previous post, I was thinking about a sentence:
    He is a man of means means the same as He is rich ( I do not want to compare or analyze the degrees of his being rich )
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I do not agree with you, Loob, because the function of a man of means is adjectival, even though man is a noun. A man of means has the function of rich.
    Ah, I see the problem, Liliana....

    What follows a linking verb such as "be" is a {subject} complement. The word "complement" describes a clause function. The complement can be a noun or noun phrase; it can also be an adjective or adjective/adjectival phrase. "Noun" and "adjective" describe word classes, not functions.
    The use of a noun/noun phrase as a complement does not turn a noun/noun phrase into an adjective/adjectival phrase:).

    So again, reverting to the original question: the king of the jungle is (a) a complement (in terms of clause function) and (b) a noun phrase.
     
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I think you're sidestepping the problem of the examples I gave.

    "This is a man of means." = "This is a rich man."
    "This is rich = "X is rich". X could be a piece of cake, a joke, an experience, a piece of cloth, or many other things. It can't be a man.

    "Rich" cannot replace "a man of means" and retain the original meaning in this context.

    Just because it's on the right side of "is" doesn't make it automatically an adjective.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I do not think a man of means can function as a noun phrase. An adjective can also function as a subject....
    Noun phrases do not function as such. It is just what they are. :) Again you are confusing syntactic functions within a sentence with parts of speech.
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    Are you saying, Loob that the man of means would be still considered a noun phrase although it functions as an adjective?
    I agree, the king of the jungle is a noun phrase, a complement. Thank you.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Are you saying, Loob that the man of means would be still considered a noun phrase although it functions as an adjective?
    .
    Of course ;)
    Most people don't say "functions as an adjective" because that's not really true, it's mixing the terminology and there are no adjectives in there, you'd say it's "describing/modifying" or it's "adjectival (in nature)". Saying 'functions as an adjective' is not how it's talked about among people who work with studying and describing language.
     
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    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    No, I am not, Boozer. I would never mix a part of speech with something else, in English at least. I am just trying to confirm the right name for the phrase.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Are you saying, Loob that the man of means would be still considered a noun phrase although it functions as an adjective?
    I agree, the king of the jungle is a noun phrase, a complement. Thank you.
    I'm saying that a man of means - like the king of the jungle - would always be a noun phrase.

    In particular clauses, it may be possible to replace the noun phrase a man of means - or the king of the jungle - with an adjective: perhaps he is a man of means > he is rich, or he is the king of the jungle > he is regal.
    But that tells us absolutely nothing about the word class of "king" or "man". The word class of "king"/"man" is inescapably 'noun'.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    The President of the United States = noun phrase

    Inserted into a sentence:

    He is the President of the United States.

    In the sentence, everything to the right of "is" is the complement of the subject "he". Speaking of it in its function in the sentence, it is a noun phrase functioning as the subject complement. Loob's explanation was the best, in my opinion. (see post #25).
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    What about phrasal adjective, would you consider it somehow a phrasal adjective? Yes they do talk about adjectival functions and other functions, I can assure you of that. Would you call it a noun complement, then. A subject complement, a noun phrase acting as a subject complement exactly the same as the king of the jungle? Re:29
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    Thank you JamesM. I agree with that. The President example, and the king of the jungle are examples of noun phrases acting as subject complements. I just think the phrase a man of means has a different function than the two phrases mentioned above. The lion is a beast of the wild. What do you think about such a sentence? I did not mean anything bad here; I like lions. OT.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    What about phrasal adjective, would you consider it somehow a phrasal adjective? Yes they do talk about adjectival functions and other functions, I can assure you of that. Would you call it a noun complement, then. A subject complement, a noun phrase acting as a subject complement exactly the same as the king of the jungle? Re:29
    I don't understand your comment, Liliana: it means nothing to me:(.

    The head of a noun phrase is a noun; the head of an adjectival phrase is an adjective.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Thank you JamesM. I agree with that. The President example, and the king of the jungle are examples of noun phrases acting as subject complements. I just think the phrase a man of means has a different function than the two phrases mentioned above. The lion is a beast of the wild. What do you think about such a sentence? I did not mean anything bad here; I like lions. OT.
    As Loob said, an adjective phrase would have an adjective as it base:

    The lion is hungry for meat. = adjective phrase functioning as subject complement
    The lion is light on his feet. = adjective phrase functioning as subject complement
    The lion is a beast of the wild. = noun phrase functioning as subject complement
    The CEO is a man of means. = noun phrase functioning as subject complement
    The lion is the king of the jungle. = noun phrase functioining as subject complement
     
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